S: Australia & New Zealand, June-July 2010
FC: Our Big Adventure Down Under | Australia & New Zealand | Sydney | Auckland
1: June 22, '10 - Margaret and Ralph depart from Atlanta, connect in Chicago and Los Angeles June 24 - Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand to meet Milkos. Then the adventure really began...
2: a | Touring the botanical gardens | Around Auckland
3: The Auckland Museum
4: Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter | Seeing how long we can keep our hands in Antarctic-temperature water. | Shark bus!
5: Going through the penguin exhibit.
6: In the elevator going up to the viewing deck of the Sky Tower | Auckland Harbor | Cheers! | Afraid of heights!
7: Sky Tower | Auckland's Sky Tower is the second tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere.
8: Train trip through the North Island to Wellington | Waiting for our train
9: We stopped for lunch in one of the many small towns we passed through.
10: Wellington | After a 12-hour scenic train ride through the countryside of the North Island, we arrived in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
11: Ralph was walking like a kiwi.
12: Te Papa is New Zealand's national museum. | A moa, an extinct giant bird native to NZ.
13: We took a tour of Parliament, where the Congress meets.
14: Depart: Wellington Arrive: Auckland | Trying to climb like a lemur.
16: Rangitoto is a volcanic island that formed from an eruption about 600 years ago. | Rangitoto Island
17: "It's so beautiful!" screamed Maggie many times during our hike. | After a hike to the summit, we had spectacular views of Auckland and the surrounding areas. | The crater where the initial eruption of the volcano took place.
18: Rangitoto Island has many caves, formed from underground rivers of lava. | Inside some of the caves it was pitch black dark; the only light was from the camera flash. | "I'm about to walk into the cave; hopefully nothing eats me." - Maggie | Our ferry coming to take us back to Auckland. | View of Rangitoto Island from the ferry
19: Next stop: Sydney, Australia | We spent one week in New Zealand, having many interesting experiences. Then we packed up our bags and continued on to the land of OZ. Milkos stayed in New Zealand, but soon joined us in Australia. | A beautiful sunset to end a wonderful visit to New Zealand.
20: Some of Australia's dangerous creatures, from top left: blue-ringed octopus, bulldog ants, funnel-web spider, and cone snails. | St. Mary's Cathedral at dusk.
21: Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World | Don't get into a staring contest with a cuddle fish: they always win! | Red kangaroos | A cassowary, the most dangerous bird in the world (and Ralph's favorite). | 1, 2, 3, KOALA!
22: We took a tour of the Sydney Opera House and then walked halfway across the Sydney Harbour Bridge | Looking down at traffic from the bridge.
23: View of the opera house from the bridge. | At Darling Harbour we watched a dance by some Aborigines. | When we needed free Internet we would go to McDonald's. | We had a tiny hostel room, with little room to move.
24: We went up to the top of the Sydney Tower, where we could see all of the surrounding area. | The airport can be seen from the tower. | The Sydney Harbour Bridge as viewed from the tower. | Hyde Park and St. Mary's Cathedral can be seen from the tower.
25: Manly Beach - via ferry across the harbor.
26: Tour of the The Blue Mountains | We stopped for breakfast at a park beside the river. | We came across a mother kangaroo and joey in a field.
28: Some cars over the edge of the cliff! | Many of the trees had unique designs in their bark made by insects. | We stopped for lunch at one of the small towns along our route.
29: The Three Sisters | Hike to Katoomba Falls.
30: We stopped to see rock carvings done by Aborigines long ago. | We returned to Sydney via river boat. | We rented a car and drove 12hours to Brisbane. | Ralph was very excited to see a brush turkey at a rest stop. | Driving on the left side of the road took some getting used to.
31: We spent a couple of days in Brisbane, visiting Margaret's old pen pal, Nick Silva. | In the center of Brisbane there's an artificial beach. | The Brisbane river, which runs through downtown.
32: Milkos eating a corn dog for the very first time. | Having an Aussie barbecue at Nick's place. | It seems magpies are pretty aggressive during. | Pavlova, an Australian dessert. | Night view of Brisbane from a scenic overlook. | En route back to Sydney, we drove through the beautiful New England region, and stopped at the University of New England, in Armidale, where Ralph did his Masters Degree.
33: We drove through some very beautiful country. | Brisbane | Armidale | Sydney | Back in Sydney, we did a beach walk along a cliff from Bondi beach to Coogee beach., with spectacular views along the way.
35: Waverly Cemetery - the best view in town! | At Coogee beach Milkos wanted to swim, even though it was cold and the water was freezing!